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UMCOM Likens FM Chip to Air Bags, Seatbelts

UMC general secretary Larry Hollon calls for FCC to mandate FM chips in smart devices

The concept of an FM mandate for smartphones, tablets and phablets for public safety reasons is still bubbling up in some circles.

At the Radio Show, Digity President/Founder Dean Goodman called for a mandate. Now, too so does United Methodist Communications. “FM receivers in smart devices should be activated as a matter of public safety just as air bags and seatbelts in automobiles were required years ago,” writes UMC General Secretary Larry Hollon in a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

The Nashville-based UMC is the global communications agency for the United Methodist Church with audiences in the Philippines, Eastern and Central Europe, Africa and the U.S. “Our experience in Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines and in the current Ebola crisis in West Africa reinforces the value of radio as a means of informing persons about circumstances essential to their well-being in emergency situations.”

Closer to home, Hollon notes natural disasters often knock out residential power, cell service and the Internet. “The only battery device [that functions] may be a smart phone, but it is useless without cell service. With an activated radio chip, however,” it would function similar to a transistor radio providing people with essential survival information, according to Hollon.

Hollon copied the FEMA administrator a well as the chief executives of AT&T, Verizon and Apple.

NAB backed off the mandate concept earlier, we’ve reported.